GIVEMESPORT Awards #11: Roberto Firmino, Alvaro Morata and Jurgen Klopp claim prizes

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Merry Christmas, ladies and gentlemen.

Ah, it's the time of year where Mariah Carey moves into your car radio, the poultry of the world runs for the hills, 'Elf' is played on every single TV channel and you spend ten years lining everything with tinsel.

It's also a time where football is on our screens every 10 seconds with a schedule so busy that Jurgen Klopp probably goes into meltdown and Jeff Stelling declares 'there's been a goal at...' in the middle of the night.

A different Christmas

But let's be honest here, Christmas won't be the same this year. In fact, I've heard rumours that if you look on 2020's birth certificate, you'll find that the parents are Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch.

In seriousness, though, the new regulations implemented by the UK government have come as a massive blow to people's plans for the festive period, robbing them of much-needed time with loved ones.

It is, of course, for the safety of vulnerable people, which will always be paramount, but that doesn't make it any easier that a time of Christmas cheer and coming together will be shrunk to three households and a single day.

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Tough time for everyone

One can't help feeling that all for the carol singing, firework igniting and mulled wine drinking that will still go ahead that the Christmas of 2020 will be one where we think of those crying, grieving and struggling.

There's not a blanket solution nor would I, a random sports journalist, deign to suggest any, but what I do know is that each and every smile, laugh and moment of happiness will be more precious than ever this year.

I can't promise any of that - frankly, I'm pretty limited to woeful dad jokes and childish innuendos - but there can't be any harm in taking the beautiful game a little less seriously when everything else is so tough.

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GIVEMESPORT Awards

So, join me in plugging my ears from the pangs and wails of 2020 for just a moment or two with the latest edition of the GIVEMESPORT Awards, ranging from the madness of the 'S***housery award' to 'Disasterclass of the week'.

Goal of the week

Patrick Schick vs Bayern Munich

There have been some cracking strikes over the last seven days, so credit to Jack Harrison for his top-corner screamer against Newcastle United and Manchester United for their glorious team goal at Bramall Lane.

But is there anything more satisfying than a volley like this!? Schick absolutely nailed his technique with a sizzling volley against the German champions that flashed past Manuel Neuer in the blink of an eye.

Player of the week

Roberto Firmino

And just like that, everybody claiming that Firmino is overrated has gone silent because it's clear that his winner against Leicester City has lifted his confidence from the doldrums and into the stratosphere.

Selecting Firmino was something of a no-brainer: heading home a glorious winner against Tottenham, before finding the net twice - including a glorious touch for his first - and providing an assist at Selhurst Park.

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Manager of the week

Jurgen Klopp

Ah, I can hear the accusations that I'm firmly planted between the buttocks of Liverpool already, but what can I say when they defeated their main Premier League title contenders and won 7-0 away from home!?

As a result, I'd be remiss if I didn't tip my hat to Klopp for outmaneuvering Jose Mourinho in a game that could decide the fate of the title and securing one of the most impressive results of the season against a strong Crystal Palace side.

Oh, that and he was crowned the FIFA Coach of the Year - not a bad week, huh?

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Game of the week

Ajax 5-4 Utrecht

Nobody could have expected this carnage when Ajax, comfortably commanding the Eredivisie standings, came into half-time leading 2-1, but no less than seven(!?) goals rained in after the break.

Utrecht entered the final 10 minutes with a 4-3 lead after strikes from Mimoun Mahi, Sander van de Streek and Moussa Sylla undid the damage of an own goal from Tommy St. Jago.

However, there was to be no victory for the underdogs as Zakaria Labyad levelled the scores late on, before Dusan Tadic bagged his second of the game in the 89th minute to give Ajax the three points.

Outrageous skill of the week

Daniel Podance on Kai Havertz

Close your eyes, swing a stick and you'd probably hit a montage mocking Havertz this week because Chelsea's mega-money signing had a night to forget during the 2-1 defeat at Molineux.

So, there was something cruelly apt about the moment Podence sent him back to Bayer Leverkusen with a cheeky direction-turning move that's one of the more unique Premier League skills we've seen this season.

Fallon d'Floor

Pedro Neto vs Chelsea

However, Wolves can't be completely absolved of criticism after their win over Frank Lampard's men and Neto's winner on the night meant that an embarrassing moment has largely been forgotten.

We have absolutely no idea why Neto wasn't booked for diving when he went to ground for a penalty that was chalked off by VAR because, well, N'Golo Kante and Reece James never actually made contact.

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Strangest punditry of the week

Tim Sherwood's 'masterpiece' commentary

So, erm, yeh, Sherwood instantly went viral after saying this literally seconds before Firmino headed home Liverpool's winner against Spurs: "Another corner. I'm not too worried about these corners.

"It might come back to bite me here, but Tottenham have got the dominancy in the air here, so I'm not sure anyone can get their head on the first ball for Liverpool. Apart from that one."

Disasterclass of the week

Alvaro Morata's offside misses

Yes, I'm more than aware that Morata has played pretty well this week, but that doesn't mean we can't lament his embarrassing misses against Atalanta and Parma that were only saved by the linesman's flag.

We've frankly lost count of the amount of times Morata has been offside since returning to Juventus, but they did him a favour this time around after a bungled back-heel and accidental goal-line clearance.

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Tweet of the week

Borussia Monchengladbach

There are many things that the Germans do best and it seems as though tweets from football clubs are yet another because Gladbach were on fire after drawing Manchester City in the Champions League round of 16.

Having already played the Citizens twice in Europe's premier competition over the last five years, they were on hand with some meme wizardry to ensure the retweets came along in the tens of thousands.

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Craziest bet of the week

Predicting 6-2 and 7-0 wins for Man Utd and Liverpool

Some bets are so wild they're hard to believe. So, imagine our utter bewilderment when it emerged that one fan had clearly fell asleep on their keyboard by forecasting 6-2 and 7-0 wins for United and Liverpool.

The odds came in at a staggering 20,3000/1 for the £2 bet, meaning their astonishing forecast could have returned £40,602, but there's a twist: they decided to cash out when United led 4-1 and were forced to settle for £2,279.56.

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Sunday League award

Christmas cracker challenges

Sunday League football has only just been returning to the sodden fields of the UK over the last few weeks and they wouldn't be the same without two-footed challenges that are more likely to break a leg than earn a booking.

So, in celebration of that glorious Sunday League institution, we couldn't help sharing two clips that, although we can't guarantee they took place over the last week, have been doing the rounds and make for entertaining viewing:

S***housery award

Scott Brown vs Hearts

You can't help respecting Brown for his unwavering dedication to winding up opponents at Celtic and that couldn't have been more apparent than during the dramatic Scottish Cup final victory over Hearts.

We'll casually ignore the unsavoury scenes that saw Brown held back by kit man Hugh Hoolighan, but celebrating in the face of Steven Naismith after a fierce battle throughout the game was pure s***housery.

The Roy Keane award

Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe haircuts

Few things in life are less conducive than Keane and the modern game, so we like to imagine that, much like the iconic Garth Crooks, he isn't a fan of some of football's more flamboyant haircuts.

Bearing that in mind, just imagine how much Keane's blood pressure must have shot up when he saw Griezmann donning a style associated with toddlers and Mbappe sporting hair dye bluer than the clour blue itself.

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Urban dictionary award

Word: VAR (verb)

Definition: Pernickety to the point of absolute tedium.

In a sentence: My cousin VARed me so hard when I was running the family Zoom quiz for Christmas because I didn't specify whether my tennis question only regarded the open era, prompting him to leave the call and leave my gran in tears.

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Man Utd penalty of the week

Bruno Fernandes vs Leeds United

Another week, another penalty for United - it's just the way of the world. Plus, we can't help noticing that it's yet another spot-kick won by Anthony Martial, who was absolutely superb during the 6-2 Old Trafford win.

Fernandes, who had already scored as United led 4-1 at half-time, made no mistake from 12 yards by deploying his trusty 'hop' routine to leave Illan Meslier planted and the ball in the bottom corner.

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Managerial innuendo of the week

Roy Hodgson

"We take it very badly. It's a new experience for most of us. We just have to come over it and learn some lessons from it. I'm sure we will."

Whatever floats your boat, Roy, there are certainly worse ways you can get over a bad experience.

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TV Burp award

Most overly-enthusiastic pole dance routine of the week

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Steady on, Pedri, balls hitting the post isn't a good thing at the best of times...

Merry Christmas everyone

Look, regular readers of these awards will know that they are, essentially, one big p*** take and I hope that my latest, unabashed descent into madness has given you at least one smile or chuckle.

But as much as I could tie up this week's edition in a cute, sugar-coated Christmas bow as though everything is fine and dandy, I don't think anything could possibly be more tone-deaf. 2020 has, after all, been s***.

People have lost their loved ones. Children have been starving. Family and friends have been unable to see each other. Fathers have waited for births in car parks. Relatives have greeted grandparents through care-home windows. 

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Stay safe

The fact of the matter is that everybody has had their own demons to face this year, it's all relative and it's all worthy of sympathy. 

We're in this together. Christmas won't and cannot be the same this year, but that doesn't mean we can't channel the sentiments of the festive period that have remained unchanged through light and dark, sunshine and rain.

Ask your mate how they're doing, make that phone call with your family member, hug that housemate if it's safe to do so, look out for each other however you can and never be afraid to talk about your problems. 

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So, from everyone here at GIVEMESPORT, Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate, happy festivities to those who don't and a jolly New Year to everyone. Thanks for reading and stay safe.

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